Peter J. Tolan, 86, passed away peacefully at home in Newburyport on August 21, 2018 surrounded by his loving wife of 61 years Shirley (Sousa) and his family. He was born in Quincy on August 4, 1932, to the late Peter and Alice (IIliffe) Tolan. After graduating from Quincy High School, he served for three years in the U.S. Navy. He attended the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston, receiving an Associate’s Degree in mechanical engineering, then went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in the same field of study at Northeastern University.
After marrying on June 16, 1957, Peter and Shirley settled in Scituate, where they raised their four children. Mr. Tolan worked for a number of engineering firms on the South Shore including DS Kennedy in Cohasset, Cutler-Hammer in Pembroke, and Submarine Engineering (also in Cohasset), a company affiliated with BF Goodrich. During his time working for Goodrich, Mr. Tolan was awarded ten personal patents (shared with the company) for his inventions, including a submersible boom system designed to contain in-harbor oil spills.
Mr. Tolan also started and ran his own businesses. First PJ Products, and later Toltech, through which he marketed and sold the PetroPore, a leak detection system for underground tanks he created and manufactured, and which is currently in use around the world.
He is survived by his wife Shirley; his son Peter and ex-wife Leslie of Montecito, CA., and their children Peter, Benjamin and Beatrice; his daughter Gaye Hatfield and husband Brad of Amesbury, and their children Paul and Lee; daughter Jane Sokol and husband Rob of Newburyport, and their children Andrew, David and John; and daughter Caroline Tatum of Bedford, TX., and her daughter Natalie.
Family and friends are invited to Mr. Tolan’s Funeral Service to be held at the Massachusetts National Cemetery on Connery Ave. Bourne, MA on Monday August 27, 2018 at 11:15 AM. The Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home 193 High St. Newburyport, MA 01950 is assisting Mr. Tolan’s family with his funeral arrangements.